The Little Things

The little things…there’s nothing bigger, is there?

– David Aames, ‘Vanilla Sky’

After I woke up, I got the first text. It didn’t make me smile, but I smiled anyway. There was no one to see it, but it seemed gracious to smile and reply with many, many thanks. The day had started off with sunshine, promising to be warm enough to wear a cotton trench, giving hope. There were several lunches that day, and supper and dinner too. By noon the temperatures started to plummet and it snowed during the first lunch. There was no going back to warmer weather after that; the day just got progressively chillier.

There were messages, on social networks, in person, through phone calls and text messages, expressing polite hope for happiness, granted wishes and, in some cases, a long life. Some were even punctuated with presents and cards and nice, kind words. I accepted them all graciously, loved them all and said so with a lot of gratitude. Little squeals of excitement were drawn from me with each ribbon loosened. Huge grins accompanied every rip made in the pretty paper carefully wrapped around the boxes holding pretty little things meant to induce happiness. A zillion “thank you so very much”s were emitted.

It was a good day, admittedly, but I felt uneasy. It had kicked in when I woke up, or maybe even before I had fallen asleep at 2 am the night before. I couldn’t easily tell. I was vaguely aware that, for some reason, my mind was populated with thoughts of people who were important to me.

I got ready for bed. The clock struck midnight. I thought of calls I had waited for which hadn’t caused my phone to play its Twisted Nerve ringtone today. I left the sparkly gift bags, and their contents, that had come home with me on the floor by the bedroom door. I laid the shoes I had worn all day back into their box, covered with tissue. I thought of the people who knew how much it would mean to me but hadn’t given me a hug. I had bought the shoes exactly one year ago, as a gift to myself, but had never worn them until now.

I looked in the mirror and played with my week-old bangs, letting them fall over my forehead to see once again how different they made me look. I tried to turn off the auto-focus on a mental image floating around in my head, of the day and the people who were special to me, for as I looked at them, I saw the truth. I kicked off the little slippers I’d bought on a solo trip to Seville. I made the image go blurry and relegated it to an obscure spot where no one ever goes looking. An unwelcome thought of the people who hadn’t even remembered made its presence felt. I flicked off the lights and got under the warm, fluffy covers, dreaming unpleasantly the moment my head hit the satin-covered pillow.

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